Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities

  1. Academics

    Preamble

    It is the intent of the College to develop in its students the capacity for critical judgment and to encourage the independent and sustained search for truth. As an indispensable condition for this search, it is the policy of the College to secure and to respect freedom to teach and freedom to learn in the classroom, the laboratory and the extracurricular opportunities provided to the students. The College also expects each member of the College community to respect the right of other members to teach and to learn.

    1. Admission to Harvey Mudd College

      The primary criterion for admission to Harvey Mudd College is demonstrated intellectual accomplishment offering evidence of suitability for the work of the College. Because students learn from each other, consideration is given as well to a variety of backgrounds and interests in the selection of candidates for admission. The College shall not discriminate against applicants for admission on grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnic origin, ancestry, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic characteristics, veteran status or any other characteristic/status protected by applicable laws.

    2. Freedom of Classroom Expression and Academic Evaluation

      The professor in the classroom and in conferences shall encourage free discussion, inquiry and expression. It is essential that freedom be maintained with respect to political, religious or controversial opinions, but each faculty member may establish certain standards of academic conduct when they are related to a course. It is the responsibility of the instructor to explain and clarify such standards at the beginning of any course. Student grades shall be determined solely on academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards.

      1. Protection of Freedom of Expression

        Students shall be free to take reasonable exception to the data or view offered in any course of study, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course for which they are enrolled.

      2. Protection Against Improper Academic Evaluation

        Students shall be protected against prejudiced, capricious or otherwise unreasonable academic evaluation or academic standards by the right of direct appeal to the Scholarly Standing Committee (SSC) of the faculty. At the same time, students are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.

    3. Release of Information About Students

      1. Confidential Information

        Information about a student gained in confidence, or in an advising or counseling situation, by faculty or staff shall be kept in confidence; such information shall be released only with the express consent of the student unless compelled by law.

      2. Information Not Gained in Confidence

        Information not gained in confidence, including opinions of character and ability, may be provided as dictated by the judgment of the faculty or staff member.

      3. Records

        The U.S. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. A detailed list of these rights appears in the HMC Catalogue and later in this handbook. A selection of rights is listed here for emphasis.

        1. An official transcript of a student’s academic record shall be released only with the written consent of the student whether he or she is then a student of the College or not. Transcripts, when appropriate, will note a student’s suspension or expulsion for academic or disciplinary reasons. In no other instance shall matters of conduct or discipline appear on the official transcript.
        2. The originals or copies of other student records of whatever nature shall be released only with the written consent of the student.
        3. The central files concerning the student shall be open to others only with the approval of the president of the College and those designated by him or her. Files shall never be available to individuals outside of the College community, unless released by the student.
        4. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, information concerning students and documents and files containing such information shall be released upon legal compulsion, as for example, upon receipt of asubpoena or in response to a government regulation.
      4. Records of Political Activities

        The College shall not maintain records concerning the political activities or beliefs of individual students.

      5. Destruction of Records

        Disciplinary records relating to conduct, including correspondence concerning discipline, shall be destroyed five years after graduation or withdrawal from College; all other non-academic correspondence will be reviewed at this time and destroyed as determined by the Office of the Registrar and Office of Dean of Students (DOS).

  2. Student Life

    1. Freedom of Association

      Students bring to the campus a variety of interests previously acquired and develop many new interests as members of the academic community. They shall be free to organize and join associations to promote their common interests.

    2. Recognized Student Organizations

      Recognized student organizations shall be those organizations chartered under the Associated Students of Harvey Mudd College (ASHMC) Constitution. These organizations are subject to the guidelines outlined in Article VII of the ASHMC Bylaws. The ASHMC Council may consult with DOS at any time in regard to the chartering of any student organization.

    3. Freedom of Inquiry and Expression

      1. Students and student organizations shall be free to discuss all questions, to express opinions publicly or privately and to support causes by orderly means insofar as such actions do not obstruct or disrupt the regular and essential operations of the College.
      2. Students and student organizations shall not make their public expressions in such a fashion that the academic or larger communities are led to believe they speak for the College.
      3. Students may invite to campus and hear persons of their own choosing in accordance with the following regulations:
        1. Recognized student organizations, joint student-faculty organizations, and unrecognized groups of 10 or more full-time registered students may invite non-College speakers to address meetings on campus.
        2. All such meetings shall be chaired by a full-time registered student or faculty member selected by the sponsoring group. It is the responsibility of the chair to state that the views expressed at such meetings do not necessarily reflect the views of the College.
        3. All such meetings shall be open to all Harvey Mudd College students, faculty and staff.
        4. The dean of students office shall be notified of any speakers coming to campus.
    4. Student Participation in Institutional Government

      Students have the right to organize a student body government and through the government to express views to the faculty and administration. Joint student-faculty committees established by the students and faculty shall serve as a vehicle for the interchange of ideas and the promulgation of joint student-faculty resolutions. Student resolutions may also be presented to the faculty at regularly scheduled or special meetings of the faculty. Faculty meetings are scheduled and agenda items are determined by the president, the dean of faculty (or the Faculty Executive Committee) or on the request of any five members of the faculty.

    5. Student Publications

      1. If any student publication is published through a student-owned and operated corporation, then such publication shall be free of censorship and advance approval of copy, and its editors and managers shall be free to develop their own editorial policies, news coverage and financial support.
      2. If a recognized student organization, which is not a corporation (including joint campus publication groups), is the publisher of a publication, then all materials shall be subject to advance approval by the dean of students or a DOS designee. Restraints imposed by the College will be limited solely to those required to protect the College from possible civil or criminal liability.
      3. College facilities shall not be used by unrecognized student groups to print or publish publications unless the approval of the dean of students is first obtained.
      4. Editors and managers of student publications shall in no case be subject to suspension or removal either from the publication or from the College faculty or administration because of College or public disapproval of content.
      5. All student publications shall state on the editorial page or other conspicuous place that opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the College or the student body.
    6. Right to Privacy

      Authorized persons are allowed to enter student rooms at reasonable times for the purpose of housekeeping, utility inspection or repair. On-campus premises occupied by students shall not be entered and the personal possessions of students shall not be searched except (1) when authorized by the president or an individual authorized by the president, who shall be made known directly to the students, upon probable cause that a serious violation of College regulations has occurred; or (2) upon probable cause that immediate physical danger (to life or property) exists. The College shall not knowingly permit any device to be used secretly in the residences on campus to intercept or record speech, actions or electronic communications unless under legal compulsion.

    7. Publication of Standards of Conduct

      The College shall formulate and publish, in a publication generally available to all students, rules, regulations and standards of conduct that it considers essential to its academic mission and its community life. All rules, regulations and standards of conduct shall be promulgated by the president of the College or his or her delegate, but representatives of the student body shall be entitled to participate in a significant way in the formulation and review of such rules, regulations and standards of conduct.

    8. College Authority and Civil Penalties

      A student shall not be subjected to discipline by the College unless he or she violates a College regulation. If College regulations are violated in the course of involvement with civil authorities, no greater punishment or discipline shall be imposed because of civil punishment.

    9. Status of Student Pending Final Action

      Pending a final determination of guilt, neither the status of the student nor his or her legal rights shall be altered unless the safety or well-being of the student or of the College community dictates otherwise. Such alterations of a student’s status shall be made only by the president, the dean of students, or their delegates, and shall remain in force only as long as it is clearly necessary to meet a current emergency. Temporary suspensions undertaken for this purpose shall not be entered on a transcript of a student’s record. A student subjected to such temporary suspension shall be permitted to complete academic assignments and examinations missed during this suspension without penalty for lateness if completed within an interval immediately following the suspension not greater than twice the duration of the suspension.

    10. Appeal

      Students and student organizations may appeal decisions outlined in this section by submitting their appeal in writing to the ASHMC Council for preliminary hearing. Unless the ASHMC Council unanimously declares a complaint invalid, the complaint shall be forwarded, with the body’s opinion attached, to the president for the final decision and action.